Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews -- For those who like their news and truths frank and sharp

30 Ways to improve the memory of a healthy brain

Bad mental habits hinder our ability to recall what really happened

At 70, I have a great memory. (Some say that’s because I forgot what I no longer remember.) In any case, poor habits produce poor memory. Commitment to integrity and taking therapy are my biggest assets.

Be honest. Don’t make up stories. Lying overstretches neural information paths. It’s such a waste of energy to keep track of what you told whom. Learn to say ‘I don’t know’ so you won’t end up faking what you know. Learn to enjoy being proven wrong rather than bend the facts to be right.

Don’t multi-focus unless you must. Multi-processing is for emergencies, for survival. In calm times, use full concentration. Shattered minds forget.

We remember by telling our observations to ourselves. Do so out loud. If you have a speech defect (dyslexia), try correcting it as much as possible.

Don’t believe what they say about our feelings. We generate them. Be candid that only we can trigger ourselves. That empowers; reject blame.

Be curious and not close-minded. Look for and embrace new facts that might contradict the principles and theories you always fancied.

Don’t take in stuff that messes with your brain chemistry, like alcohol and other recreational drugs.

Sleep enough. During sleep, the brain orders and connects memories. It continues thinking. Go sleep with a problem, wake up with a solution. Also, when we’re underslept, our short-term memory fails us more often.

Joke and laugh enough. It’s hard to remember when you’re overly serious.

Create order around you and routines. When your surroundings are less of a mess, chances are, your brain is too. Always put keys in the same place and pocket. When I put anything down, it’s always the highest place in the room (I’m tall), so I can skip searching floors and what’s directly on them.

Retrace your steps to where you still knew or meditate till you remember.

Take notes by pen. Keyboard strokes don’t record in the brain. Read them.

Write a note or response (email) immediately. Don’t burden your brain.

Relax about remembering. Brainstorm what it could have been. Try to give outrageous suggestions until you remember. “Well, it was not …”

Listen not just to know or remember but also to tell and teach others.

Don’t be lazy. Drill the words until you recall. Especially before sleeping.

Use mnemonics often. Use mnemonic devices to ingrain your mnemonics.

Cry enough to heal hurts. What’s too painful, we won’t recall yet. Therapy can resolve a hard time with names, difficulty with numbers, etc.

Avoid hypnosis. No one should mess with your brain. If you don’t remember spontaneously, your brain is protecting you. Don’t force it.

You don’t have to rack your brain for facts when your memory fails you. Naming your feelings can easily uncover many facts.

Let someone refresh your memory with details you might have forgotten.

Try to understand. It’s hard to recall things you told yourself but didn’t grasp. Connect new learning with what you know already. Collect insights.

Yawn. And again. It heals old boredom and releases long-lost details.

Pay attention. If you don’t, even your short-term memory will be vague.

Don’t say: I forget, it’s my age. Don’t you recall you always forgot things?

Write it down. Make lists. Also dreams, including details. The more often you write them upon awakening, the more you will remember them.

Learn to speed read. It builds and uses confidence in your memory.

Writing is a process. Give the brain time to milk and process stored info.

Set an alarm. Especially if you know time will fly by (internet, TV).

Some people put their clocks 3, 5, or 7 minutes early to help them leave the house ‘in time.’ But the result is that you need to remember all the time what the shown time means of every clock. Don’t do it.

Don’t brag about your memory. Overconfidence hurts it.

Be confident it’s all stored in your brain. Admire how it works. “Never say: Well, my memory is not that great, and nothing can be done.” Look ↑.

Sometimes it’s hard to live among people who don’t remember a thing.

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, previously a daily blog contributor to the TOI. He often makes his readers laugh, mad, or assume he's nuts—close to perfect blogging. He's proud that his analytical short comments are removed both from left-wing and right-wing news sites. None of his content is generated by the new bore on the block, AI. * As a frontier thinker, he sees things many don't yet. He's half a prophet. Half. Let's not exaggerate. Or not at all because he doesn't claim G^d talks to him. He gives him good ideas—that's all. MM doesn't believe that people observe and think in a vacuum. He, therefore, wanted a broad bio that readers interested can track a bit what (lack of) backgrounds, experiences, and educations contribute to his visions. * This year, he will prioritize getting his unpublished books published rather than just blog posts. Next year, he hopes to focus on activism against human extinction. To find less-recent posts on a subject XXX among his over 2000 archived ones, go to the right-top corner of a Times of Israel page, click on the search icon and search "zuiden, XXX". One can find a second, wilder blog, to which one may subscribe too, here: or by clicking on the globe icon next to his picture on top. * Like most of his readers, he believes in being friendly, respectful, and loyal. However, if you think those are his absolute top priorities, you might end up disappointed. His first loyalty is to the truth. He will try to stay within the limits of democratic and Jewish law, but he won't lie to support opinions or people when don't deserve that. (Yet, we all make honest mistakes, which is just fine and does not justify losing support.) He admits that he sometimes exaggerates to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quite a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * Sometimes he's misunderstood because his wide and diverse field of vision seldomly fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what some love about him. He has written a lot about Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (including basic statistics), Politics (Israel, the US, and the Netherlands, Activism - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight reality), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, LGBTQIA+, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation), the Climate Crisis, Ecology and Veganism, Affairs from the news, or the Torah Portion of the Week, or new insights that suddenly befell him. * Chronologically, his most influential teachers are his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach, and, lehavdil bein chayim lechayim, Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff, and Rav Meir Lubin. This short list doesn't mean to disrespect others who taught him a lot or a little. One of his rabbis calls him Mr. Innovation [Ish haChidushim]. Yet, his originalities seem to root deeply in traditional Judaism, though they may grow in unexpected directions. In fact, he claims he's modernizing nothing. Rather, mainly basing himself on the basic Hebrew Torah text, he tries to rediscover classical Jewish thought almost lost in thousands of years of stifling Gentile domination and Jewish assimilation. (He pleads for a close reading of the Torah instead of going by rough assumptions of what it would probably mean and before fleeing to Commentaries.) This, in all aspects of life, but prominently in the areas of Free Will, Activism, Homosexuality for men, and Redemption. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, and disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed. He aims to bring a fresh perspective rather than harp on the obvious and familiar. When he can, he loves to write encyclopedic overviews. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds should be disputed. In short, his main political positions are among others: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, anti those who abuse democratic liberties, anti the fake ME peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, pro-Science, pro-Free Will, anti-blaming-the-victim, and for down-to-earth, classical optimism, and happiness. Read his blog on how he attempts to bridge any tensions between those ideas or fields. * He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (, born in 1953 to his parents who were Dutch-Jewish Holocaust survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork. He grew up a humble listener. It took him decades to become a speaker too, and decades more to admit to being a genius. But his humility was his to keep. And so was his honesty. Bullies and con artists almost instantaneously envy and hate him. He hopes to bring new things and not just preach to the choir. * He holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam) – is half a doctor. He practices Re-evaluation Co-counseling since 1977, is not an official teacher anymore, and became a friendly, powerful therapist. He became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years, he was active in hasbara to the Dutch-speaking public. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's a strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. * His writing has been made possible by an allowance for second-generation Holocaust survivors from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. If you're a native English speaker and wonder why you should read from people whose English is only their second language, consider the advantage of having an original peek outside of your cultural bubble. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me. * His newest books you may find here:
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